New research shows that two million people in the UK are cancer survivors, meaning that they have either completed initial cancer treatment and are in remission, are living with progressive disease that is not in its terminal phase, or have had cancer in the past.
The research, which was commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support and carried out by experts at King's College London's Thames Cancer Registry, shows that prevalence figures are increasing at a rate of 3.2 per cent a year.
This is expected to increase further as treatments and diagnostic tests improve, and as the population in the UK ages.
Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "The number of cancer survivors is growing every year and failure by primary care trusts to put in place proper resources to care for these people is a ticking time bomb.
"It is about time the NHS acknowledged that cancer is no longer necessarily a death sentence and recognised its long term-impact on people's lives."